New horse, new vest... new discipline? How did you become an eventer?
I'm a dressage rider (sort of). I mean, I've been TRYING dressage for years, but I'm not really good at it. I'm perched forward, prefer a short leg... you get the drift.
I have zero eye for distances, though I haven't jumped consistently in years, so maybe hope isn't lost. And, if I do say so myself, pics and video of me jumping (only up to 2'6) show a stable base of support, not jumping ahead, and a forgiving hand.
I got a new gelding about a month ago, and he was a 2'6-2'9 jumper. He's starting to adjust to contact and going in a TL dressage frame. However, I couldn't help myself and bought a jump saddle and finally took him over some cross rails, and it was just TOO MUCH FUN!
Now that he's muscling up, our dressage saddle doesn't fit him (nor me, so it's for sale and I'm on the hunt), so we're riding mostly in the jump saddle.
And I love getting to ride in it.
See where this is going?
I also just bought a barely used tipperary vest, and I happen to be at a barn owned by a family with strong eventing ties.
We're planning on spending the winter really focusing on flatwork and getting that all together, and the talented YR eventer is going to help me keep him going over fences and I'll do little stuff, but I just can't wait for spring when the ground is nice enough that I can try to take him over some little xc jumps...
So much to accomplish before then!
Onto my question -- how did you become an eventer? Are there other chickens who ended up eventing and not being a chicken anymore? Really, I'm a complete chicken, but I know I can ride very confidently when needed. My last horse was a wuss over fences (Even walking over poles on the ground), and I can remember a dirt refusal, doing a tight circle, SITTING and getting over that fence beautifully. Trainer says "Why don't you ride like that ALL the time?"
Just so happens my last two trainers/barns have ended up being eventing barns regardless of my intended discipline...
I was seduced into it be a beautiful older blonde woman who dared me.
My aunt was/ kinda still is an eventer. I don't remember what level she rode through, but she competed at Ledyard in the 70s. I thought she was sooo cool. LOL. When I started riding I knew I want to be just like her
I did my first mini-trial in the late 80s on a school horse and I was hooked! I did the eq for a while as a teen, but eventing was always what I really wanted to do solely.
my earliest memory of "eventing" (if you could call it that at 8yo) was in the 80s doing pony club camp at glenwood in middleburg. i thought the teenage riders were super cool & they liked me ....so i kept doing it. here's a pic (no laughing at my fat little thighs pls): http://www.flickr.com/photos/cmlpac/8227915951/
And the wise, Jack Daniels drinking, slow-truck-driving, veteran TB handler who took "no shit from no hoss Miss L, y'hear," said: "She aint wrapped too tight."
I went to Rolex every year as a kid. But never thought normal people could do it until some random internet person (seriously) talked me into taking my horse (an ex track pony who didn't know what a circle was) to an Ian Stark clinic. Horse discovered what he was born to do (XC) and I discovered the one thing I have ever wanted so bad it hurt. That was in 2007. I don't think there's any escape now, LOL.
My advice to everyone: join your USEA Adult Riders group. Maybe I'm biased because ours is freaking awesome, but it will open so many doors for you and is a phenomenal resource for the adult amateur.
I started riding as a kid at horse camp at a hunter/jumper barn that hosted horse trials twice a year. I still remember the year my trainer gave me permission to compete. That's right, she ran a tight ship...you didn't "ask" to do anything; you were told!
At any rate, she didn't "tell" me I could compete until the week before the HT. I didn't have any show clothes, so my Mom, not being of a horsey background, thought I probably needed a red jacket since that's what she'd seen on T.V. So, at my first event in the early '90s, I wore my Mom's old suit jacket from the early '70s with a big, gold horse pin the lapel and my favorite periwinkle jodphurs. I was a sight for sore eyes in the intro division, but I loved every minute of it...even when I fell off in stadium! After that, I was hooked, and the rest is history...
Pony Club! The Pony Club I was part held a horse trials (they still do) and I would go once a year amist the hunter, jumper, western, and dressage shows. I asked my mom why there couldn't be more events like that one and she told me there were if I wanted to do those instead. I was 8 or 9.... 20 freakin years ago! Hooked for life.
How did I become an eventer? From the time I got my first horse at 8 years old – I enjoyed nothing more that gallivanting around in the woods and the hills jumping everything and anything I could find. My friends and I would spend all day on our horses, riding trails, and building jumps out of fallen logs etc.
Joined Pony Club – was taken under the wing of a well known eventing trainer – the rest was history.
Can’t help you on the chicken part though! I have always been a bit too brave for my own good. I recall my appy bucking and throwing me off 5 times in one day once – I was still laughing and having a good time by the end of the ride.
I started out in a hunter barn where we also dabbled in Pony Club. For years we went to the H/J shows, and did the three yearly pony club rallies. They were dressage, show jumping and combined training. The CT rally was BY FAR our favorite.
I think we were probably 12 or 13 when a group of us realized that there were more shows where we could do combined training than the one offered by Pony Club each year, and largely due to the fact that the barn owners daughters were part of the group making this revelation, our show schedule shifted away from the hunter shows and over to combined training shows.
My first barn was a foxhunting barn, and a couple of times we went and saw events, but growing up I always thought eventing was a sport for professionals. Years and years later, after spending a lot of time on the H/J circuit I moved to a new barn where a few people were going to the Queeny Park HT (I lived in St. Louis at the time) for fun. I decided on a total whim to enter, even though my young TB mare (who happened to be Bonnie's mama, about a year off the track, this was 1994!) had never seen a XC jump before and I hadn't ridden across country in ages by then.
My first contact with a dressage saddle was my first time in a dressage ring, too, and our first XC trip was Kelly's (Delta Wave's) first time over natural jumps. We made it almost all the way around, with a couple of stops and I was so clueless that I was sure we were eliminated so I just skipped the last jump and called it a day. Turns out we were in like 5th place, and so being still clueless I didn't even ask to do SJ but instead opted to school the XC course again, which we did perfectly and I was hooked!
VERY DEFINITELY NOT the way to get started. I had no coach, no lessons, no help, no clue.
I did H/J for what seems like forever. Riding got set aside for a couple of years when I joined the Navy and then when I bought my then second horse ever she was not hunter "material." A 14.3hd chestnut AQHA mare bred for cutting, failed out of reining and came to me. A friend in the barn where I kept her encouraged me to do eventing with her. That mare, while simultaneously sucking at s/j she was packed me around x/c. The s/j thing was more me than her. But after the first time I did a HT I was totally hooked, even though I humiliated myself in the dressage because at the end I couldn't remember if I was supposed to walk over the border, or go out the way I came in. Not my best eventing moment. Current mare isn't really a packer yet, but if she comes sound, maybe someday.
"But I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep." Robert Frost
My family had horses and I had my first pony at age 6, a 3 year old Welsh Pony that wasn't even halter broke. My 10 year old brother got on her 3 days or so per week for about 4 months and then they threw me up there. Started foxhunting at age 8 on the same pony, showed in small pony hunters, then large. Did Junior Hunters, Equitation, catch riding, breaking babies, ran around jumping pasture fences and stone walls bareback without a helmet... through high school until 1974. Went to college, quit riding for 12 years, with the exception of breaking babies during summer break during college. Went on to live in the Midwest, settling in Michigan in the mid 80s, as a college professor. The day I got tenure, I went out horse shopping and found a 3 year old TB filly that almost killed me. Then found an OTTB who was incredible but difficult but the most talented horse ever (I mistakenly attributed our success to myself, LOL). I was determined to be a DQ and took lots of dressage lessons etc. Then, on sabbatical in Charlottesville, I met a gal who kept telling me I was wasting my horse on dressage and that he had event horse written all over him. Within 3 years, we were at Intermediate, and then I ended up living back on the old home place in Virginia with a string of horses (Holsteiners back then which was in the late 90s).
Yep, quit a great job, and career so I could move to "eventing land," and I've had a blast ever since. Of course, I still have J.O.B., but it is secondary to the horses, and set up so that I work in the evenings.
Can't believe I wasted all those years in hunter-land but eventing wasn't big in the 60s and 70s like it is today. So, here I am, pushing 60 with no intention of slowing down any time soon.
Shortly after I bought my first horse, a fellow boarder asked me if I wanted to go to an event with her. It turned out to be the weekend from hell (for her). She happened to go x-c just as a T-storm moved in, and the skies opened up on her during the middle of her x-c round. She had to pull up because it was raining so hard she couldn't see, and they were "kind" enough to eliminate her, but let her ride stadium. She then fell off in stadium (was just a silly fall, and she was okay, but it was a long, quiet drive home). Anyway-- that weekend I got soaking wet, witnessed several ways to get eliminated, saw riders getting run away with . . . and I was completely hooked! Where do I sign up for this kind of fun?
I was looking for a different barn, one that actually went to shows and had jumping lessons. Found this one in the phonebook, they had some stadium jumps, but mostly they had a small xc course. Loved jumping over the solid jumps considering at the previous barn I was always riding a dirty stopper and was terrified when they added a strawbale under the jumps... Then the new place took us to Stuart Horse Trials to volunteer and I was completely hooked.
That was back in 2001, my goal still is to ride at Stuarts.
I have been riding different disaplines for years. When I was in my early 20's I was galloping race horses. I had a very close call accident and walked away unharmed. My husband to be told me that he really loves me but doesn't want to see me get hurt. So I said ok I will go back to eventing, he had no idea what eventing was. When I told him, he laughed and said "now you are galloping at jumps?" Yup yup yup he hugged me and laughed!! He has been my greatest support system for years!!! He knows it is what I love to do and I take ever safety precaution I can!!! There is no stopping what the heart wants
I was seduced by a tall, dark haired stud who dared me to try it!
i order to afford riding (always a passion but not able to be indulged in until I was an adult) I was working polo. Through a series of events, I wound up with a 16.3 OTTB stallion (the stud mentioned above). Definitely too big for polo, but some people I met at the time suggested I try eventing him. I had no idea what THAT was, but I went to a little back yard three phase with them. You know the kind of place: an old bath tub was one of the XC jumps. I had NO idea what I was doing.
But the stallion was a gentleman and a talented athlete, and I fell in love with the challenge of three disciplines and the "sheer terror to adrenaline rush" range of emotions on XC. Lordy, wish I had that horse now that I sorta semi know what I'm doing. The stallion made into a Prelim horse before a double bow in the pasture retired him, and now I have a barn full of OTTBs that I really enjoy training and learning with.
The dark side is addictive!
They don't call me frugal for nothing.
Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.
The barn I started at was an eventing barn, so I've always knows eventing is where I would end up. My trainers daughter & I were the same age so she and I were best friends and always ended up showing the same things. Together we dabbled in showing hunters, western, driving and even a little saddle seat. But at home we would always school cross-country and make up our own dressage tests. Did I mention our favorite game was to pretend we were riding at Rolex? So we eventually started doing our local schooling events and were hooked!
After growing up doing the hunters, I was in a new town, horseless, and made friends with an awesome eventer. She loaned me her incredible pony for my first attempt, and it was wonderful fun! The rush is right up there with foxhunting (which I also love!) I have my dream H/J horse right now but am looking forward to taking her to school some XC at least, even though she isn't a good fit as a competition horse. Hoping to someday have a purpose-built fox hunter who can do lower level eventing, too. There are great people in every discipline but eventers are some of the most welcoming, encouraging, and fun.
Also, I am the queen of the chickens. It helped me to have plenty of schooling opportunities and a reliable pony + expert coaching from a friend. When I actually got to the competition I felt well prepared and after the initial nerves (mostly regarding forgetting my dressage test) I had the time of my life. Sounds like you are well set up to do the same! Good luck!